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I'm looking for a replacement for an aging 15.6" Dell laptop, and as I had a good experience with it, I try to remain loyal to Dell. The Dell laptop which fits my requirements the best would be a Dell Inspiron 5548 or 5558, with an i7-5500U CPU and 8 GB RAM, and a 2 or 4 GB dedicated graphic card.

My biggest concern is the low resolution of the display. A 768 vertical resolution is just too low for my tastes.

Basically, I'm looking at the following specifics:

Must have

  • computational power at about the same level as the Dell Inspiron 55548/5558 presented above (i7-5500, 8 GB RAM)
  • dedicated graphics card. The GeForce 920M in the Dell 5558 is more than good enough, I don't need any heavy-duty gaming card, I just had bad experiences with integrated graphics cards and I want to have a dedicated one, even if low-spec.
  • price category similar to the Dell 5558. It can be slightly more, but not by orders of magnitude, of course. The top specs of the 5558 cost approximately between 800 and 1000 Euros (£570 - £710, $880 - $1100).
  • USB 3.0
  • Removable battery. I tend to use it as a desktop computer for extended time periods, I don't want to waste my battery life-cycles during this time. Or was it an issue only for older batteries that using them while plugged in the mains significantly reduced their total lifetime?
  • 15.6 inch display
  • At least a vertical resolution of 800 pixels. (as such displays are no longer produced, I guess it will boil down to a 1920 x 1080 screen)
  • I guess there is no modern laptop without HDMI and without any Wifi, so I don't know if I even had to mention them.
  • A screen which is not too dark. My old screen was slightly above 230 cd/m2, I don't want any screen which is much darker.
  • Availability in Europe

Very important

  • CD/DVD drive. I need that a lot, and I don't want to carry around an external drive all the time.
  • Integrated webcam. Doesn't have to be good, it just has to exist.
  • VGA. I sometimes need to use older projectors which only have VGA input.

Nice to have

  • WiFi on/off button.
  • A case which doesn't bend or fall apart when carrying it around in a bag.
  • Dell, but mostly out of subjective reasons
  • IPS screen, but it seems hard to get one for laptops in this price range.
  • Preferably an SSHD by default, so I don't have to replace it if it only comes with a simple hard drive.

The biggest issues which kept me from buying a Dell 5548 or 5558 was the 768 vertical resolution of the display, and the lack of an optical drive in case of the 5548, and I also didn't like the lack of VGA. The brightness also seems to be around 200 cd/m2.

The nearest I could find was a Lenovo Ideapad Z51 70, but two things put me off: the battery is not removable, and the screen brightness is quite poor at only 200 cd/m2.

Another alternative I found performance-wise was an Asus F550JX, but it is very hard to find any information about them online, as the Asus naming conventions don't seem to be very friendly. It also seems to lack a removable battery.

  • The low end 920M isn't really much better than the GT2/GT3 of Intel's current generation. Except being more power hungry, of course. – timuzhti Nov 1 '15 at 5:00
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I own Dell 5548 and it has a Full HD touchscreen, a very good quality screen, I'm very pleased with it as a Web Designer and as a Developer. Of course, its color reproduction is not perfect, but quite decent.

The only negative issue I can point out is the bad battery life with Windows 10 (4 hours instead of 6 with Win 8.1). Ah and if you carry around the laptop with the lid closed in the backpack you would have the marks from the keyboard on the display.

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